Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Publication Date: June 6, 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
[Special thanks to the publisher for the review copy!]
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.
Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.
As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.
It feels weird because I haven’t written a review in more than two months. I’ve been in a book review slump and it got me really frustrated but I’m excited to be back!
I had high expectations for this book because Kuya Neil gave it 5 stars. And I can clearly see why he did it. He’s known among our peers as the “Booksale King” and secondhand bookstores are home to him. I trust his reviews because he’s pretty frank with them. So when I saw him give five stars to this book, I knew I had to read it.
My expectations were not just met. Words in Deep Blue surpassed them.
This book surprised me in ways I don’t even understand. But I know that I was aching for this kind of book. A book that I’ll put on my Books that Mean a Lot to Me shelf on Goodreads. A book that’s somehow life-changing.
This book is everything I needed at the moment and that’s pretty big.
Words in Deep Blue made me feel all the feelings.
It made me laugh. It made me swoon. It made me smile and it made my heart ache and at the last parts, it made me cry.
I stared at the ceiling after reading, holding the book to my chest, feeling my heartbeat as I thought of how amazing this book is.
This book is so special that even if I only have one copy (my ARC), I still decided to pass it to someone just because the book said so.
You see, letters are left between the pages of the books featured in this book. Those books are in the Letter Library of Howling Books, Henry’s family business.
I LOVE THAT BOOKSTORE SO MUCH MY HEART BREAKS THAT IT’S NOT REAL. BECAUSE AHHHH I’D WANT THAT FICTION COUCH TO BE REAL. AND THE LETTER LIBRARY…PLEASE.
You can write on the books at the Letter Library. You make your mark on the books. You can encircle, underline, scribble…and gaaaah THE LETTERS.
This book is too precious.
How do I even describe it without telling you spoilers?
Okay, let me try.
First of all, I identified with Rachel right from the first page. I’m the kind of person who would leave a letter for someone I love before I move or say goodbye forever.
I’m also the kind of person who would feel bitter over that person for not responding to my letter.
Unrequited love is my thing, and apparently, Henry has joined the club. He’s this hopeless romantic who loved poems so much, and he’s in love with a girl who doesn’t actually love him. Amy tried to explain herself, but to me she was just unfair.
Two friends – best friends – who haven’t really spoken in three years meet again. Awkwaaaard.
Rachel is dealing with her brother’s death and Henry is dealing with his breakup with Amy and the selling of their family business (IT WASN’T JUST A BUSINESS, IT WAS HOME TO HENRY) and the two eventually find comfort in each other’s company. I really loved it when they started writing letters to each other. ❤
But the book was not just about Rachel and Henry. There’s also George (Henry’s sister), Martin (George’s new friend), and the mysterious Pytheas – who left letters for George at the Letter Library.
I enjoyed reading the exchange of letters between George and Pytheas because George was reluctant at first, but she eventually trusted him. And Pytheas, on the other hand, was very persistent in making friends with George. He knew her too well and she badly wanted to know who he really is.
Martin also wrote letters to George via the Letter Library. He’s also trying to be her friend, because he really liked her.
George was mean to Martin at first, but over time, she appreciated his messages and his effort in starting a friendship. IT WAS SO CUTE!
I love George, Martin, and whoever Pytheas is. I LOVE THEM. ❤
I’ll stop talking about the story now because if I say more words, there’ll be an ocean of emotions here BECAUSE WHEN I READ A CERTAIN PART THAT TOTALLY CAUGHT ME OFF-GUARD, I TOOK DEEP BREATHS TO PROCESS WHAT WAS GOING ON.
It hurt too much. It still hurts.
Howling Books and the Letter Library
The most beautiful part of the book is its fictional secondhand bookstore and its special library.
We can make them real.
Like what I mentioned above, I’ll pass my only copy of the book to someone else. I’ve left a message, and I’ve left my mark on the book.
I’ve thought of someone while reading Words in Deep Blue because the book reminded me so much of that person’s love for the ocean. I’ve left a note on the page where I’ve left a sticky flag to mark the words that made me think of the person.
Yes, I didn’t remove the sticky flags. All of them are still there.
The note is basically the instructions. To read the book, leave your mark, then pass it on.
You can pass it to someone you know, or be more adventurous and leave the book in a public place for a stranger to find.
I just believe that this is so beautiful, and part of this being beautiful is that pain in your heart upon letting go of a book you’ve loved so much.
Yes, I can buy a finished copy (and I definitely will!), but the first copy I ever held in my hands is the most special. You can’t buy an ARC. And more importantly, you can’t buy the memories you have with that copy of the book.
Despite this, I’m still pushing through with my decision. I’m letting go of a book that made me feel so much. Because Words in Deep Blue is not a book you keep to yourself. It’s a book you’d want to share with the world.
My heart is smiling, with hopes of seeing the book again one day, in the hands of someone I don’t know, with all the marks made by all the people who held the book before the stranger did.
An infinity symbol for this powerful book.
Final Rating: ∞